Tag Archives: Vigri

14 Iceland bands you ought to be listening to: Introducing Iceland Whatever, Vol. 1

It’s finally time to announce the next release on Theory of Whatever records, Iceland Whatever Vol. 1.   A 14 track compilation of bands I really enjoy and think you should as well.  Spanning multiple genres all brought to you for as cheap as I could get away with.  The liner notes will be available on the Theory of Whatever website, and will include a bio of the band and links where you can hear and purchase more of these bands music.

Much like the old independent compilations I grew up with, the point of this album is to help these bands get a bit more exposure and hopefully increase your music library.  So, here’s presenting “Iceland Whatever Vol. 1 it will be released on October 20th, and you can pre-order here. pre-orders get a dollar off, making the physical CD $5.50 and the digital download $5.  If you would like to purchase the physical CD and are out of the United States, please contact us and we will arrange it

The compilation cover is by the incredibly talented Lóa Hjálmtýsdóttir, a musician (FM Belfast), illustrator, and cartoonist (Lóaboratorium) She frequently contributes to the Reykjavik Grapevine.  The cat on the album cover is Roxy A.K.A. Doom.  She was the only cat I’ve ever gotten along with, ornery as hell but a sweetheart.  She passed away earlier this year, and so I felt compelled to put her photo on the album cover.

There are new and classic tracks from the artists, if the song isn’t available online to listen to yet, I’ve selected another song from the band I enjoy.  Click the band name to go to their Facebook pages.

1. Knife fights – “Panic Later”

knifefights

Knife fights is a refreshing nod to the Northwest United states in the 90’s.  Consisting of Sigurður Angantýsson, Helgi Pétur Hannesson, Gunnar Petur Hauksson, and Þórir Bogason.  They are energetic, slightly noisy and well composed.  They were one of my favorite new bands from last year.  I am pleased to open the compilation with their track “Panic later”

You can read an interview I did with them at the release of their first album here.  Very energetic, slightly noisy and well composed the compilation opens with their new track, “Panic later::

2.  Þórir Georg – Hunger

thorirgeorg

Þórir Georg comes in many flavors.  I first was introduced to his music from his band, My Summer as a Salvation Soldier, and have enjoyed every project he’s come up with since, from folk to crazy to goth.  The track on the compilation is a new song from an upcoming album of his solo stuff.   and so I have put a track from his previous album, Ræfill “The idiot song” here for you to listen.

3. Plúseinn – Empire

pluseinn

Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson is Plúseinn.  He is one of the founding members of FM Belfast, the energetic party band that typically leaves folks pantless by the end of their sets.   While Plúseinn and the track “Empire” can be safely listened to without fear of losing clothing, it is one of the best earworms you’ll experience for quite a while and you’ll be on repeat for quite a while,  electro-pop heavy on the synth.

4. Bambaló – Impress the Boy

KSbam

Kristjana Stefánsdóttir is Bambaló.  Kristjana has helped Icelanders with their singing for years.  Her past projects and albums have been Christmas hymns, Jazz and she frequently performs at Iceland Affair in Connecticut every October.  Her very rich and full voice dominates this song about Impressing a boy.

5. Vigri – Breathing

vigri

Vigri is the creation of two brothers, Hans and Bjarki Pjetursson.  I heard them first at Airwaves years ago and if they are playing I make sure to attend.  Their music floats effortlessly between atmospheric moments and heavy beats and I’m pleased to offer a new track from their upcoming album.  The song above, “Animal” is one of my favorites from their first album, “Sinking ships”

6.  KVÖL– Dropar

kvol

KVÖL is Þórir Georg and Júlía.  It’s Goth punk with dark, strong beats and moody synths.  Dropar is a new track from them not available yet.  So I present, “Get Away” from their first E.P.

7. Kælan Mikla – Ekkert Nema

km

Kælan Mikla is an all female poetic punk band.  Consisting of Sólveig Matthildur Kristjánsdóttir Margrét Rósa Dóru- Harrysdóttir Laufey Soffía, they blast away with raw vocals and hard rhythms. They’ve quickly become one of my favorites over last couple of years.

8. kimono – Lee Harvey Oswald

Airwaves

kimono are 15 year veteran rockers consisting of Alison, Gylfi, and Kjartan.  post rock and heavy rock have been used to describe them over the ages.  We released their first single off the new album last year, and are pleased to introduce the new track, “Lee Harvey Oswald” on the album.  The track above is “Specters” which you can still purchase the 7″ for here.

9. Var- Varma

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Atmospheric, lightly feathered with darkness but with equal dashes of heavy drums and haunting vocals is a good way to describe var.  The project of Myrra Rós and her husband Júlíus.  This track is a new track from the upcoming album.

10. Brött Brekka – Genie 454

BB

Of course I couldn’t do a compilation without some hard hardcore on their.  Brött Brekka was a 2015 discovery for me, consisting of Sturla Sigurðarson, Sigurður Ingi Einarsson, and Hallvaður Jón Guðmundsson  they wildly swing from heavy rock to Hardcore.   They’re working on a new album as we speak, and I can’t wait for it.

11. AMFJ – Esja

AMFJ

Energetic, emotionally organized choatic musical noise.  Aðalsteinn Jörundsson has been at it a long time.  Part of the Falk label in Iceland, he is a veteran to performing and creation.  One of the first blog posts I did was on AMFJ.  He warned me that this new song wasn’t his usual sort of song,  I really dig it and hope you do as well.

12.  Dj. flugvél og geimskip – Draugur Í Kastalanum

Dj. flugvél og geimskip

Her live shows are ethereal environments full of color, spiraling lights and dancing disco balls.  It’s her own style of music and difficult to classify.  She’s recently been touring all over and I was pleased she could add to the comp knowing just how crazy her schedule was.  One of my favorite live acts to see when I’m in Iceland.

13. Antimony – Purity Control

antimony

The second Goth band on the compilation.  Consisting of RX, Biggi, and Siggi, Antimony are goth pop done in their own unique way.  They’re newly formed and have been extremely active around Reykjavik.  They are the perfect band to powerfully begin the compilation wrap up.

14. Ghostigital and Kimono Mash up – Codomatopoeia

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And to wrap up the compilation I bring you one of my favorite classic tracks from Ghostigital’s album Antimatter Boutique.  Ghostigital is Einar Orn and Curver Thorodsson.  Two of the longest working musicians in the Icelandic scene, their music has the ability to pump you up.  People go crazy at their shows, almost as crazy as Einar.  Simply put, I love this band.

As this is the first compilation I’ve put together, it’s filled with the bands I have always dug.  The genres are all over the place I know, but I believe I’ve ordered the CD in a manner that makes it listenable from start to finish.  I really do love all of these bands, and I am pleased they contributed to the cause.

You can pre-order either the CD or the Digital download here.  Please give them all a listen and share what you dig with your friends, regardless if you purchase the album.

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Readers choice, top 10 Icelandic bands

Last week I posted 15 bands I thought you should know.  The response to that blog was somewhat incredible in my little blog world.  Some of you are very, VERY, angry individuals, both towards the bands chosen as well as the person who’d dare pick some and leave others out.  And some of you came up with great alternatives or bands you wished were on it.

So in this post, I took the top suggestions you commented and emailed about, as well as a few more new bands I think you should check out.  As before, click on their name to find out more about them.  So, without further ado:

Agent Fresco

A good indie style rock back, akin to “At the Drive In” They’ve been in the scene since 2008, and are working on a new album as we speak.  A mellow style of math rock with creative licks and lyrics that seem to float over the top.

GusGus

GusGus is indeed a veteran  band of Iceland.  A little bit of trip-hop, a lot electronic, the band has been on the scene for almost 20 years.  Over the years, there have been many members, and those members have gone on to start production companies and other bands.  GusGus can count musicians such as Emilíana Torrini, and Daníel Ágúst amongst their ranks.  The above video is from the new Album Mexico, it’s a great album and I am currently working on a post about them, so stay tuned.

Reykjavik!

Reverent, conservative, Sunday morning driving music.  Yeahno, they’ve been around since Christ was a child, and their music is crassly clever, aggressive punk rock promoting whatever they want when they want to.  Oddly enough, on the East river walkway a few weeks ago, the song above came on, and as all the asshattedly good looking folks were surrounding me, it seemed the fitting soundtrack to my movie-like fantasty of tossing them into the river.  A lot of fun to hear live, and their massive catalog of albums is worthy of your attention.

Vigri

I’m actually quite glad a few people recommended this band.  A large contrast to Reykjavik!  Vigri is soothing, with floating lyrics over what on the surface appears to be mellow music.  But there’s a hidden intensity that creeps up on you.  I first saw them play two or so years ago, and last year at Airwaves I made everyone that came with me see the band at least once.  Not one person came back with bad things to say, even the grumpy metal guy.  I’m impatiently waiting patiently for the new album, the new material they played at Airwaves last year was fantastic.

 Legend

Mínus was the first hardcore Icelandic band I heard.  I believe it was Chimera off of the Fálkar soundtrack.  Legend is Krummi Björgvinsson from Mínus and keyboardist Halldor Björnsson.  It’s dark, sometimes industrial, sometimes rock, and it’s good, crazy good.  These guys are not to be missed live.

Pascal Pinon

I placed Samaris on the original list, one of the other projects by Jófríður Ákadóttir, but Pascal Pinon is the sweet, smooth and charming band of her and her sister, Ásthildur.  Haunting vocals and soothing instrumentals make for a very relaxing, excellent combination.  Excellent for when you just need to sit back and relax.

Just another Snake Cult

Good old fashion rock, nothing fancy but damn it’s good.  They put on an extremely high energy live gig as well.  Created by Þórir Bogason, somewhat a genius in the Icelandic music scene, their music just makes you feel good.

Snorri Helgason

Snorri’s first band, Sprengjuhöllin was a super band of sorts.  He epitomizes the hard work ethic of Icelandic musicians.  He is constantly on the go touring everywhere he can while writing and releasing music.  Later this year he will be in Connecticut with the likes of Lay Low and Svavar Knútur at the Icelandic music festival, Iceland Affair.  He’s blessed with incredible writing skills, and his songs are summer porch gems to be shared with friends and beer.

There are two newer bands that I really feel you should check out:

Cell 7

The day before Airwaves of 2013, I was standing in Lucky records with only a handful of people, when just a DJ and Ragna (Cell 7) broke into her rap.  It quickly reminded me of the old days, and her improvising, action with the crowd, and overall set was amazing.  I highly suggest you check out her stuff, and if you can, pick up her new album, CELLF

Dj. flugvél og geimskip

Trippy, spacey grooves with an incredibly fluid high pitched voice.  Dee-Lite has to love this DJ, and if you liked Dee-Lite you will love her as well.  So, set up the disco ball, lava lamp and trip out.

So there you go, more Icelandic bands for you to get to know, this time crowd sourced for your listening pleasure.  There is a lot of music out there, and it’s easy to find new stuff you yourself will dig.  Check out the Iceland Music Export page, or get the book Blue Eyed Pop to learn more about the history, distant and yesterday, of the Icelandic music scene.

 

 

 

Day 1

distantFMBelfast

Officially day one of Iceland Airwaves.  For me, it started with Vigri and ended with FM Belfast, and a lot in between.  I took a fair amount of pics, and instead of flooding my blog with them, I have created a set for Airwaves on my Flickr Account.

VigribandVigri’s off-venue set at Backpackers was a good way to start.   Now a 4 piece, they played some of their old catalog, and even with sustainability issues, the endured.  They mentioned a new album in the works, and played a few new tracks, most notable was the set ending “I Follow,” a longer track with a great build up and fantastic ending.

Kimonogroup

Next up was the Kimono off-venue show at Bar 11.  They also had a few new songs to try out on the crowd, there is more of an electronic element now and I quite like it.

They ended the set with a remixed extended version of Black.  and by remixed and extended, I mean Kjartan thundered away on drums for a very long time while Alison and Gylfi laughed about not playing.

Next up was Metz, I had gone outside for a brief minute after the Kimono show, and when I returned to see Metz the basement was so packed people were on the stairs huddled down trying to see.   Sitting outside I could hear them and it was nuts.  Luckily I got in to see the last track, and as people were being tossed up into the ceiling the band was sweatily bouncing around the stage.

After Metz, it was back upstairs to hear Kajak play.  Very energetic duo with keys and a Korg.  Trippy lyrics backed by dance and rock beats, the windows were rattling from all the energy.

This ended the off-venue part of the day for me, and it was time to quickly grab a Pylsa and head over to the YLJA gig.

DJFOGI went in the wrong door and ended up at DJ Flugvél og Geimskip’s show.  She was so happy and as I stayed for a few songs I couldn’t help but smile.  Very high pitched voice and dance beats, with fog and a rotating light ball, very creative and entertaining.

YLJA was next door.  A 5 piece consisting of 2 chanteuses surrounded by three talented guys.  Very soothing folk rock, and they played well together.

trouble

Next, after a brief musical intermission with friends, we headed off to see Þóranna Dögg Björnsdóttir.  It was a audio visual set with a large backdrop of morphing images combined with audio cues.  Relaxing and surreal.

stroffright

 

 

Stroff was next, these guys were on my list of bands to see.  Very 90’s west coast America feel to them and with only a few technical issues they played a great set at Amsterdam.

 

 

 

After Stroff back to Harpa we went, it was time to see FM Belfast, we were a bit late so we had to sit in the back of the crowd, but FM Belfast was doing what they do best, throwing a party.  Masses of people jumping up and down, in the photo above you can actually see the masses crouched down on their knees eagerly waiting for the band to cue them explode into dancing happiness.  There were streamers, confetti and sorts of mayhem.  They always seem to have a lot of fun, and they did not disappoint last night.

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Iceland Airwaves 2016

1860 Amiina Apparat Organ Quartet AMFJ
Bloodgroup Dj. flugvél og geimskip FM Belfast For a Minor Reflection
Futuregrapher In the Company of Men John Grant Jónas Sen
Kimono Knife fights Lay Low Legend
MAMMÚT Momentum Ojba Rasta Oyama
Pétur Ben Sin Fang Snorri Helgason Sudden Weather Change
Þorvaldur Þór Þorvaldsson(Doddi) Vigri

Vigri

vigri
Vigri the band was formed in 2009 by the Pjetursson brothers Bjarki and Hans.  Named after the last ship their Grandfather captained, Vigri tends to be environmental and atmospheric.  To me, the album feels like romanticized windswept cloudy days on a beach where regardless of the elements you find yourself at peace.  Which is odd as they have just released a video for my favorite song off the Pink Boats album and it happens on a snowy beach:

 

From what I’ve heard, Pink Boats was recorded inside a slew of Icelandic churches capitalizing on the old wooden interiors to boost their sound.  Add to that the brilliant tinkerings of Iceland’s own Birgir Jón Birgissong, and you get a very pleasant album indeed.  If you listen closely you can actually hear the bells of Hallgrimskirkja ringing away, though I’m not going to tell you where, you can find it on your own.
Vigri consist of Bjarki and Hans Pjetursson, Atli Jónasson, Þórir Bergsson and Egill Halldórsson.  And you can listen to Pink Boats in its entirety and purchase the sucker on Bandcamp.  Animals, Maternal Machine, and I I Augsyn are my favorite tracks.